As Commander Rue.Tylar and Captain IronAngel returned to the deck of the Shovel she grumbled. “You know they’re going to fly right into that damnable thing!”
“I know. But we can try and talk ‘em out of it, or at least put a leash on the ship first.” IronAngel grinned. “We can’t ask Vikings to not be Vikings; that’s like asking a Ninja not to plan, I mean it don’t work. What we can do, is prepare for what to do, when they go… ‘Full Viking’ we’ll call it.” He smirked.
“Okay. Leash, tractor beam; I’ll set the engineers on it. Maybe I can con Lt. kdskid007 into thinking that it’s a good idea. For safety.” She headed off towards engineering.
A full day of activity passed, with everyone watching the portal out of the windows in between their shifts. The base was bustling with activity; sensor probes were launched towards the portal only to disappear. Sensors were tuned, and retuned, and tweaked just a bit more for the finest pinpoint accuracy available.
Finally, the morning came. The other ships were on stand-by, though the other officers were all congregated at the instrument panels, checking the readings as the Vikings went underway, maneuvering towards the portal, with Commander Aka-click teaching a newer cadet how to navigate. It loomed impossibly huge on the view screens, swirling silver and white with purple gas leaking out around the edges.
“All right Commander Aka-click, slow and steady towards the anomaly, we’re monitoring all the sensors. So far north….” Commander Rue.Tylar paused as she trailed off, listening to background noise on the Viking side of the comms. “Are you guys partying?”
“Mebbe?” Commander Aka-click responded. “Just a little one, you know the ‘start of an adventure party’ party?”
Commander Rue.Tylar sighed, she knew it was the Vikings nature, but sometimes she really wished they’d be more cautious. “Okay, easy on the parties, we don’t know what we’re going to find yet?”
“THAT’S THE BEST PART!” Ensign TwinkletoestheBerserker squealed excitedly.
Captain IronAngel leaned over Commander Rue’s shoulder and spoke into her mic, “Just keep yourselves in one piece or there won’t be a ‘post-adventure party’, Captain Eldarwen.”
“There will always be a post-adventure party,” the Captain of the Viking retorted, letting out a snort.
“Approaching sensor range of the portal.” Commander Aka-click announced. On the viewing screen, the portal looked even larger up close. “Are you guys reading anything yet?” he asked.
Lt Jr. Grade EmilyNH, Chief Research Officer, answered from the table she sat at nearby. “Those sensors have been calibrated to the most finite detail. If there’s anything out there, we’ll know.” Emily beamed tiredly. She had worked with several engineers through the night to fine tune the sensors, and was clutching a large coffee in one hand. Pippi, EmilyNH’s companion, sat at her feet.
The Viking ship inched closer, and the computer beeped as the first readings started to come in; everything was off the charts, all the sensors were pinging, almost screaming.
Kdskid007 trimmed down the sensors and audio feedback. “Sorry, sorry, too sharp a sensor.” She apologized quickly, as everyone winced and covered their ears.
Words started coming through the comms, garbled at first, but the Babelfish kicked in fast enough.
Dino… <static> …. Raptor …. <static> …. Planet … <static>
“Dino…Raptor Planet?” Captain Witchy’s voice asked, tilting her head to try to get a better listen.
Aka-click steered the Viking close to the outermost fringes of the purple gaseous material. The readings from the sensors continued to skyrocket, but were still able to collect useable data, and sending it to all the ships and base in real time.
Leaning against the far wall, Commander Wolfy sipped her coffee and smirked over her mug, “looks like we got all worked up for nothing, they’re being safe, and what’s the worst that can go wrong?”
With those words, a blinding light blasted from the portal, blanking out sensors, and blinding everyone who was looking at the portal or view screen. Several people fell over, others slumped, some just shielded their faces. The light pulsed painfully, for what felt like eternity, but might have only been a minute.
When at last it faded, the portal looked just as it had before. Except the MLS Viking was nowhere to be found.
“What the ….” Commander Rue.Tylar gasped, her mind whirling. Quickly she scanned the sensors, hoping the ship might have moved away, knowing that was not the case. Finding nothing, she prattled off a flurry of unkind words in languages long forgotten.
The comms were silent.